California Unemployment Application Information

The Unemployment Insurance Program, commonly referred to as UI, provides workers, who lose their jobs through no fault of their own with weekly unemployment insurance payments.Each state has its own program for workers in its jurisdiction through a state labor department. The Employment Development Department (EDD) manages unemployment benefits sorely in California. The UI program is fully funded by employers who pay taxes on wages paid to employees. You can also apply for UI if you are not working full time and have been working for the last 18 months.

Unemployment benefits are only intended to cover basic expenses such as food, shelter, transportation e.t.c. until a person finds another job. Applying for UI in California can either be done online, by mail, by telephone or by fax.

To apply for unemployment insurance benefits, you must be completely unemployed or working less than full-time and looking for employment. Employers in the state of California pay a tax on their payroll wages and that money funds the unemployment benefits claims. These payments go to workers who suffer loss of work through no fault of their own. Main objective being to provide relief to workers until they can find a new source of income.

Eligibility Requirements

Persons filling for unemployment insurance benefits must strictly meet the below eligibility criteria before benefits can be paid.

  1. Should have received enough wages during the previous working period to establish a claim.
  2. Be unemployed or working less than full time
  3. Have lost their job through no fault of their own.
  4. Be physically productive.
  5. Be willing to accept employment immediately.
  6. Be involved in actively looking for employment.
  7. Be training approved before training benefits can be paid./li>
  8. Show proof of wages to establish a claim

Employers provide a proof of wages earned to the Department for each employee. Using this information, social department decides if an individual earned enough wages in a base period to be awarded a UI claim. Base period is always a twelve month period.

The amount approved per week is usually a minimum weekly benefit of $40 upto a maximum weekly benefit of $450. For more information about how the Department calculates a UI claim, see How Unemployment Benefits are Computed (DE 8714AB), A Guide to Benefits and Employment Services (DE 1275A), and the California Employer's Guide (DE 44).

Benefits eligibility can be affected by the reason a person got out of work. For example if a person is laid off, then he/she becomes unemployed through no fault of their own. But if a person is fired then the department must schedule a telephone interview to resolve the separation issue. The interviewer documents information from both the claimant and employer and depending on the rules and regulation decides if the claimant is eligible to receive benefits. A claim is then mailed to the employer and lets him know that his account will be charged benefits to pay the former employee.

Unemployment Application Instructions

Apply Online

Visit the California Employment Development Department website. Fill the eApply4UI application by providing your name and contact information, Social Security details and driver's license number. Fill in the name and contact information of your last employer and any other employer you might have worked for during the previous 18 months.

Check your mail within 10 days to see if your application is approved. The email will have details such as; total amount of your award, weekly amount expected and the number of weeks you should expect to be paid. Attached also is a claim form that certifies your work search and expected earnings. This will be sent twice a week.

Apply by Mail or Fax

Visit the California Employment Development Department website, and download and print the application form. Fill the form and mail or fax it to

P.O. Box 12906
CA 94604-2909

or fax it to 1-866-215-9159.
EDD usually responds by mail in 10 days.

Apply by phone

Call 1-800-300-5616 to apply by phone, expect a series of questions to determine your eligibility. The phone call normally takes slightly more than 30 minutes. Keep your previous employer and wage information within reach before you make the call.